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Huntsman Sr. calls on Mitt to release tax records

Jon Huntsman Sr. vigorously denied rumors he's been Majority Leader Harry Reid's secret source on the issue of Mitt Romney's taxes and in a surprise move said he thinks the Republican presidential candidate should make more of his financial info public.

"I feel very badly that Mitt won't release his taxes and won't be fair with the American people," Huntsman Sr. said Friday. "Mr. Romney ought to square with the American people and release his taxes like any other candidate."

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The wealthy Utah industrialist said that and more to Greg Sargent, who runs The Washington Post's Plum Line blog. Sargent was looking into Reid's claim Romney hadn't paid any taxes for a decade. Romney denies that and Reid has received heavy criticism for lobbying the complaint without naming his source or having any supporting data.

Some have speculated that the source could be Huntsman Sr., since he's close to some Bain Capital executives and his family has had an on-again, off-again rivalry with the Romneys.

Huntsman Sr., a long-time Romney supporter, said: "I have absolutely no knowledge of Bain or Mitt Romney's tax return." And he said he never talked to Reid about it.

Huntsman Sr. endorsed Romney in his 2008 campaign and even was his national finance chairman. He backed his son, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, early in this race.

Romney has said he will only release two years of tax returns, while Democrats and some Republicans have called for 10 or 12 years of returns. Romney's father, the late Michigan Gov. George Romney, who also ran for president in 1968, was the first candidate to make his tax filings public.

Huntsman Sr., who was friend with George Romney, told The Post that his son should follow that tradition.

"Mr. Romney ought to square with the American people and release his taxes like any other candidate," Huntsman said. "I've supported Mitt all along. I wish him well. But I do think he should release his income taxes."

--- Matt Canham

Twitter: @mattcanham

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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